AP reporter Bob Lewis fired over McAuliffe mistake

Posted at 4:18 PM, Oct 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-21 16:52:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia-based Associated Press political reporter Bob Lewis was fired over an inaccurate article published earlier this month about Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Lewis confirmed his firing to CBS 6 anchor Bill Fitzgerald. Over the last two years, Lewis had appeared with Fitzgerald on the CBS 6 News at 7.

“Just spoke to Bob Lewis,” Fitzgerald tweeted. “He’s appreciative of the support.”

In the article, which the AP retracted less than two hours after it was published Oct. 9, Lewis reported McAuliffe may have "lied to a federal official" looking into the candidate's investment ties with  known felon. As it turned out, the "T.M." referenced in the documents did not stand for Terry McAuliffe.

The Huffington Post also reported Richmond-based AP editor Dena Potter was fired as well. As news of the firing spread online, the McAuliffe campaign issued a statement denying it was involved in the decision making process.

“We’ve consistently said this story is water under the bridge and did not ask for any actions to be taken against those involved,” McAuliffe Communications Director Brennan Bilberry said in a statement. “We have had a professional relationship with Bob Lewis, Dena Potter and the rest of AP’s Virginia team during this campaign.”

Support for Lewis and Potter has been bipartisan.

"Bob Lewis and Dena Potter have always been fair, tough and smart. Virginians deserve dedicated reporters like them," Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell tweeted.

"Big loss for Virginia. Bob Lewis is an even-handed, talented reporter & a class act," Virginia Senator Tim Kaine tweeted.